Fusion cuisine, a combination of two or more culinary traditions and their elements, has always piqued my interest for everything unique when it comes to food. I have always wanted to know what it’s like to take on two culinary experiences at the same time. I’m interested in everything–how it looks, how it smells, how it tastes, how well the flavors go together. With Japanese cuisine topping my list of favorites, I had the inclination to try anything with a hint of Japanese flavor in it.
For some reason, I have always been under the impression that the Japanese make great Western dishes. I see a lot of Western dishes and desserts in their magazines, crafts, artwork, cinema, and television. My love for Japanese food has brought me to restaurants that never fail to give me that distinct flavor, but I bet I will always find one that has croquettes, pasta dishes, or cheesecakes and crepes on the menu. One of these restaurants that I’ve recently tried is Tokyo Cafe.
Actually, the only thing that’s mainly Japanese about Tokyo Cafe is its name. Mr. Atsushi Yoshizawa, Tokyo Cafe owner, explains in a ClickTheCity.com feature that in Japan, family restaurants that offer ‘Western food with a touch of Japanese culture’ are pretty common. This is what he wanted to share to Filipinos when he opened the first branch in SM Mall of Asia, and eventually a second branch in SM North Edsa. Even the interior of the restaurants are fused–modern minimalist design with neutral colors of brown and white, accentuated by red lantern spheres hanging over the tables. Yes, reminiscent of Japan’s signature colors of white and red.
Here are the dishes I’ve tried so far, in the two times I’ve been there:
Mango and Chicken Salad
Chicken salad, ripe mangoes, grapes, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce, served with caesar dressing.
Definitely one of the best appetizers/salads I’ve tried. Eating healthy would definitely be easier with salads like this! Although not much Japanese, the ripe mango slices gave the salad a somewhat Asian twist to your usual greens. I think this is something worth trying at home when you have left over chicken salad from a party. Already tastes great on its own, but drizzle some caesar dressing and it tastes even better.
Creamy Ebiko Pasta
My favorite Tokyo Cafe pasta dish so far. Made with shrimp, karashi ebiko, and cream pasta, it’s the perfect fusion dish, according to my tastebuds. It tastes like a combination of spaghetti carbonara and pasta marinara with the delightfully tangy flavor of karashi ebiko (spicy shrimp roe sauce). The texture of the shrimp was also perfect. I have really never tasted anything like it, in all honesty. The serving is big enough for two people, but if I go there hungry, I bet I can eat a plateful.
Italian Hamburg Burger Steak
Burger patties topped with cheese and tomato sauce seasoned with herbs, and veggies for side dish.
This one is really yummy too. The herbed tomato sauce and cheese go well with the burger patties, it’s almost like spaghetti with meatballs without the pasta! I love how they made it healthy with veggies on the side. I think you also have the option to try this (and other burger steak dishes) with steamed rice.
Mushroom and Garlic Pizza
Thin slices of yummy pizza with lotsa mushroom, parmesan, mozzarella, and garlic.
This 11″ thin crust pizza is perfect for sharing between 2-3 people. Despite the thin slices, it’s packed with flavor (garlic and mushroom goodness, all in one pizza!) but will not make you full that easy, giving your tummy the space for enjoying a pasta dish. I bet it’s one of the best pizzas Tokyo Cafe offers.
A harmony of fresh clams, squid, and shrimps tossed in zesty marinara sauce.
Another awesome pasta dish! Delectable marinara pasta with fresh clams, squid, and shrimps…what’s not to love? A marriage of my favorite foods–pasta and seafood! This is my second favorite Tokyo Cafe pasta dish, and I bet it’s perfect for those who adore the classic pasta marinara.
Peaches and Cream Crepe
Peach slices, whipped cream, and vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup.
Tokyo Cafe takes pride in its roster of mouth-watering crepes, so it’s definitely a must to try their crepes for dessert. Sephy and I tried this one during our anniversary lunch, and it was really good! Not our favorite, but still a very yummy dessert worth trying.
Choco Strawberry Crepe
Strawberry slices, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, and strawberry ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup.
Any dessert with chocolate and strawberry in its name is bound to be made of win and awesome. That was what I was thinking when I first saw this on the menu. And I was right! Perfect sweet treat for those who love anything strawberry. One of me and Sephy’s favorite Tokyo Cafe crepes. Highly recommended!
Adzuki Parfait and Choco Banana Parfait
Choco Banana Parfait has layers of banana slices, banana sauce, vanilla and chocolate ice cream, topped with whipped cream and garnished with a chocolate wafer stick. Adzuki Parfait has layers of sweet red adzuki beans , vanilla and green tea ice cream, topped with whipped cream and garnished with a chocolate wafer stick.
Aside from crepes, parfaits are also pretty popular Tokyo Cafe desserts. I haven’t really tried these parfaits, but my office buddies tried them, and they said these are good too! I’m yet to try these for myself!
With a budget of P200-499 (around $4.26-10.62), I find it to be one of the few restaurants I can go and splurge on food without actually feeling guilty about the cost. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate, or just want an extra special eat out with family, friends, or a special someone. I’m determined to try everything on their menu, and I’ll be writing about my next Tokyo Cafe experiences, so stay tuned!